The McManus Art Gallery and Museum is a Gothic Revival-style building, located in the centre of Dundee, Scotland.

The building was designed by the architect George Gilbert Scott, who was an expert for the restoration of mediaeval churches and advocate of the Gothic architectural style. He intended to design a large tower like in his previous work at St. Nikolai, Hamburg. The foundations were situated in a small wetland called Quaw Bog at the confluence of the Scourin Burn and Friar Burn, which has since been drained. This meant that the area under the building site was underpinned by large wood beams. However, when construction began in 1865, the ground proved too unstable to support the larger tower that he envisaged. The building was opened as the Albert Institute in 1867.

Two further sections, which extended the building by four art galleries and four museum galleries, were added by 1889. The central section was designed to Scott's intention by David MacKenzie, with the Eastern Galleries by William Alexander. The contents of the Watt Institute, founded in 1848, were incorporated into the collection before the opening of the civic museum and art gallery in 1873. Between 1873 and 1949, the buildings were administrated as part of public library service. From 1959, the city corporation took over the running of the administration. Ironically, following a later refurbishment the building now commemorates the Lord Provost Maurice McManus. Initially retitled McManus Galleries, after refurbishment in 2010, it is now formally known as The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum.

The collection includes three paintings by Thomas Musgrave Joy which celebrate Grace Darling's rescue of passengers on the paddlesteamer Forfarshire.



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Founded: 1867
Category: Museums in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Patrick Bastow (5 months ago)
For me, this is THE best museum in Dundee. I’ve been here 3 times now and you always see something new. Go to the V&A to admire the building but make it a priority to come here too. Plus you’ll see a bit more of Dundee. The building is amazing and it’s had an upgrade. What makes this the best museum in Dundee is it content - amazing art, and a really good account of Dundee history. So do yourself a favour visit the no 1 museum in Dundee if you are in Dundee
Andrew Lindsay (5 months ago)
Wonderful museum and art gallery. Lots of local exhibits from bygone eras to relatively modern histories. Very friendly welcome and introduction - and it's free to get in. Probably spent over two hours here plus a wonderful lunch to boot.
John Tucker (7 months ago)
This is such a brilliant place with so much to see. It was our first time in Dundee and we would highly recommend it if you want to get an instant feel for this proud city. Special thanks to Amelia who introduced herself at the door (in chilly conditions) then took time to engage with us on one of her 'walk arounds' whilst inside. Her enthusiasm and warmth made our afternoon.
Lizzie (7 months ago)
A great little museum, good variety of exhibitions well curated and a nice art gallery as well. Some lovely prehistoric finds and a good documentation of Dundee's history. Didn't stop for food but the cafe smelled great. Free admission, and a great afternoon out!
Angus McNicoll (8 months ago)
Love the "re-vamped" museum which focuses on Dundee's history. So many memories for me in the photographs and high quality exhibits. Definitely well worth visiting for anyone interested in Dundee and its past. As an added bonus, it's very wheelchair friendly too!
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